Category Archives: News

George Ramsay – The World’s First Football Manager

One of the most important, and stressful, jobs in the game of football is the position of club manager. Now, more than ever due to intense pressure, ‘the gaffer’ can be removed from their position in just a matter of weeks from monumental success.
The job role has modernised and redeveloped through time, though where did the role of a manager come into place? Which point in the national sport timeline did a manager have responsibility in overlooking football players? And who even was the first ever football manager?
The world’s first ever appointed, paid football manager, in 1886, was a Scot called George Ramsay; who would become a formidable force in English football.
George Ramsay was born in Glasgow on 3rd March 1855. It was at the age of 21 years old when he made the trip south, arriving in Birmingham to work as a clerk in a brass foundry. His first interaction with Aston Villa was completely accidental. Had the rough Scotsman not come across a practice football match – in 1876 – between a bunch of ill-organised, inexperienced cricketers, it is unlikely that the name Aston Villa would be a household name today.
Walking past a Villa players’ practice match in Aston Park, he was asked to make up the numbers, taking them up on the invitation. Impressed by his incredible skills, the Villa players invited him to join the club; to which he agreed to sign. Shortly after signing for Villa he was appointed captain of the club.

A number of prominent Scots were associated with Villa at the time, including star player Archie Hunter,and, of course, William McGregor: the club president. In addition, the committee had also decided to adopt the Scottish Lion Rampant for the club crest.

Word spread about how fine a player George was, spectators began turning up to watch the little man nicknamed ‘Scotty’. In 1880, Ramsay led Villa to their first trophy – the Birmingham Senior Cup. The following season Aston Villa won 21 of their 25 games also winning the Staffordshire Cup in the same year. George Ramsay was in outstanding form. Unfortunately, a serious injury forced Ramsay to retire from first-class football in June 1882. Two years later, he was appointed as club secretary.

His influence wasn’t restricted to the pitch. He also negotiated the purchase of Villa’s new ground at Wellington Road, Perry Barr. Villa played at Perry Barr until 1897 when the club moved to the Aston Lower Grounds, next to Aston Hall, which later became known as Villa Park. According to club folklore, it has been stated that Ramsay was the first man to kick a ball at Villa Park.

The club decided to convert from amateurism to professionalism in 1885. The committee decided that, in order to maintain their recent risen status, developments and procedures must be changed.
What seemed such a small, unremarkable advertisement appeared in the pages of a local newspaper in the English midlands days later…

‘Wanted: manager for Aston Villa Football Club, who will be required to devote his whole time under direction of the committee. Salary £100 per annum. Applications with reference must be made not later than June 23rd to Chairman of the Committee, Aston Villa Club House, 6 Witton Road, Aston’

Villa would then make a landmark appointment, in 1886, creating a position which would become the very norm to every club in the world for the foreseeable. They would appoint a ‘manager’ of the football team. In the end, the outcome was that the role was to be handed to their club secretary, George Ramsay. This decision meant that technically Ramsay, a Scot, was the first paid manager anywhere in world football.
Although the wording of the advertisement described the position as ‘manager’ the convention of the time was followed and Ramsay was generally referred to as the club’s secretary. The committee would pick the team but it was Ramsay who taught them how to play beautiful football.
In all Ramsay’s association with the football club lasted 59 years, there is a time, particularly at the start of his tenure, which will always be known as Aston Villa’s ‘Golden Age’. The great Scot led his teams to an astonishing six league titles and six FA Cups between 1893 and 1920, a managerial record that stands today.
In terms of winning titles, he is ranked 3rd behind Sir Alex Ferguson and Bob Paisley. Break those titles down and it shows his record of six League Championships and six FA Cups is second only to Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger respectively.

What is more impressive is the 49.59 per cent win ratio he achieved during his remarkable tenure at Villa Park that has Ramsay ranked above some of the football’s biggest names. In 2014,  it emerged his relentless success leaves him ninth in a table ranking Premier League/First Division managers through history on their overall win percentage records. This puts him ahead of Liverpool legend Bill Shankly on 49.31 per cent, double winning Spurs coach Bill Nicholson on 48.72, and Nottingham Forest’s Brian Clough, who had a 45.03 win rate during a trophy-laden career, including two European Cups.

Ramsay held his position as secretary of Villa until 1926, when he was 71, then becoming an advisor and vice-president. He died in October 1935 and was laid to rest in St Mary’s churchyard, Handsworth Wood. His gravestone reads “Founder of Aston Villa”.

Rangers Legend Paul Gascoigne to be inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame 2018

RANGERS legend Paul Gascoigne will be inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame on Sunday 21st October, at this year’s annual dinner at Hampden Park.

Nominated by the public, then selected by an expert panel from across the Scottish sport media, ‘Gazza’ will be amongst five inductees to be honoured at this year’s black-tie event. It was previously announced that Scotland’s all-time top goalscorer Julie Fleeting will be one of this year’s inductees. The three further inductees will be announced at the dinner in October.

Paul Gascoigne lit up Scottish Football at Rangers FC after joining the club in 1995 and becoming a major part of the club’s history in helping Rangers equalling Celtic in achieving 9 league titles in a row. Following impressive displays for England at the 1990 FIFA World Cup and a memorable free kick for Tottenham Hotspur against Arsenal in the 1991 FA Cup Semi Final, Gazza moved to Lazio for a British transfer record (reported at £5.5m) in 1992. After a series of injuries curtailed his time in Italian football, Paul moved to Ibrox where the club had just secured their seventh successive league title. Gazza would be instrumental in securing the eighth and record equalling ninth championships.

In his debut season in Scotland Paul was voted Scottish Player of the Year. At Euro ’96, Gazza scored an incredible goal against Scotland at Wembley, audaciously flicking the ball over Scotland Captain Colin Hendry then slotting it beyond his Rangers teammate Andy Goram. Gazza is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most controversial characters to ever play in Scottish football but also one of the most talented footballers to have graced the football pitches of Scotland.

 

Above: Paul Gascoigne playing for Rangers.

Scottish football fans from across the world nominated the players, managers and officials whom they thought should be recognised for their contribution to Scottish football. The amassed public nominations were then considered by an expert panel from football and the media, who had the difficult task of whittling them down to just five for inclusion this year.

The inductees of the Scottish Football Hall of Fame are those truly great players, managers and officials who have reached the pinnacle of their profession and have made a significant contribution to Scottish football through their skill, spirit and determination.

The tables for this year’s annual dinner on Sunday 21st October can be secured by calling 0141 620 4040 or visiting sfmhalloffame.co.uk.

Scotland’s Record Goalscorer Julie Fleeting to be inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame 2018

Women’s football legend Julie Fleeting will be inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame, at this year’s annual dinner at Scotland’s National Stadium, Hampden Park, on Sunday 21st October.

An outstanding footballer and ambassador for women’s football in Scotland, Julie Fleeting (married name Stewart) is amongst five inductees to be honoured at this year’s glittering awards event. Four further inductees will be announced at the dinner in October.

Julie is Scotland’s most prolific goalscorer with an incredible 116 international goals in 121 caps. A leader on the pitch, Julie captained her national team Scotland for eight years.


After spending her early career at Ayr United Ladies where she was club captain, Julie left Scotland to join San Diego Spirit, becoming the first-ever Scot to play in the professional Women’s United Soccer Association league in America. During her two-season spell in California she was voted Most Valuable Player (MVP) by her teammates and received her club’s Golden Boot award.

At club level Julie is perhaps best known for her time as an integral member of the all-conquering Arsenal Ladies side (2004-12) where she recorded over 300 goals, winning the FA WSL, seven FA Women’s Premier League titles, five FA Women’s Cups, three FA Women’s Premier League Cups and the UEFA Women’s Cup in the process.

During her trophy-laden time at Arsenal, Julie received many personal accolades including an MBE in 2008 for services to women’s football.

Following nine successful seasons at Arsenal Julie returned to Scotland for spells at Kilwinning Ladies, Celtic Ladies and latterly Glasgow City with whom she lifted the Scottish Women’s Cup.

Throughout much of her career Julie maintained a full-time job as a PE Teacher having studied at the University of Edinburgh.

Julie joins women’s football pioneer Rose Reilly in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.
Commenting on her induction, Julie Fleeting shared: “I am thrilled to learn that I will be joining the Scottish Football Hall of Fame this year. The list of great names in the Hall of Fame is incredible and it’s an honour to be joining them.”
“Women’s football in Scotland is improving year by year as demonstrated by the National Team reaching the World Cup finals next year. Hopefully the increased profile of the women’s game will inspire more women and girls to pursue the game that we all love.”

Scottish football fans from across the world nominated the players, managers and officials whom they thought should be recognised for their contribution to Scottish football. The amassed public nominations were then considered by an expert panel from football and the media, who had the difficult task of whittling them down to just five for inclusion this year.

The inductees of the Scottish Football Hall of Fame are those truly great players, managers and officials who have reached the pinnacle of their profession and have made a significant contribution to Scottish football through their skill, spirit and determination.

The tables for this year’s annual dinner on Sunday 21st October can be secured by calling 0141 620 4040 or visiting www.sfmhalloffame.co.uk.

The Scot who Invented the Dugout

They are almost recognisable in every football stadium. Pretty much every manager in the beautiful game has stood in them. They entail praise and abuse by supporters hurled towards them. They are, at times, the location where the eureka moment arrives for a manager to win a match. They come in all different shapes and sizes, becoming a place to seek photo opportunity during stadium tours.
They are one of the many important footnotes of football and it was a Scot who invented them: the dugout.
Donald Colman was his name, though he was born ‘Donald Cunningham’ in Renton in 1878 but changed his surname to ‘Colman’ so that his father, a deeply religious man who opposed the idea of professional football, would not be aware of his son’s defiance.
Colman began as a footballer for Glasgow Perthshire, playing for a few junior clubs including Maryhill Juniors. However, it was not until the age of 27 that he made the step up to professional football – signing for Motherwell as a full-back.
Shortly after two years at The Steelmen, he was released and later headhunted by Aberdeen; later becoming captain of The Dons in 1909. Colman initially suffered the now old, tired cliche of “being too small” as well as being too old.  Yet Colman defied peoples’ opinions and, at 33 years old, fully overcame such  ludicrous claims by winning his first out of his four full Scotland caps and continued to play for Aberdeen until he reached 42, and then Dumbarton until 47 – during which time he was also coaching and alleged to still be an active player.
As a coach Colman was ahead, possibly even decades, ahead of his time. In the 1930’s he lectured on the benefits of keeping possession, of running off the ball, of finding open space. Donald also designed football boots, gave them to players one boot at a time to encourage them to play using their weaker foot.

Above: Donald Colman

Whilst at Dumbarton he spent his summers in Norway coaching the team SK Brann of Bergen, where he saw Scandinavian managers huddling for shelter while trying to get near the pitch to shout instructions to their teams. Colman had an idea. Why wouldn’t a covered area be built so that managers were close enough to be heard by their players without sacrificing the shelter of a stand? Colman set forth to devise this idea – a sheltered area, set below pitch level which allowed him to observe his players’ feet as they played. An ever-lasting piece of football fabric was born. The Dugout had arrived.
When Colman became trainer-coach at Aberdeen under manager Paddy Travers in 1931 it followed that Pittodrie would be the first stadium in the history of football to install dugouts. It was from that innovative position that their next manager, Dave Halliday, improved Aberdeen to the point they won their first ever Scottish Cup in 1947 and their first Scottish title in 1955.
From then on other team’s would follow Colman’s idea. Everton made the journey north of the border to play a friendly against Aberdeen in 1938 and shortly after installed the first dugouts in England. Colman’s simple, excellent idea spread around the world, leaving behind an ever-lasting legacy in football.

Interestingly, Donald’s great-granddaughter, Rachel Corsie, is also a footballer who currently plays for American side: Utah Royals FC and is captain of the Scotland’s  Women National team.

Danny McLennan: The Explorer.

International football has returned this weekend which see players receive the greatest honour of being selected to play for their respected country.
As told from the galleries within the museum, many fortunate players and managers have been involved in the Scotland national team.
Besides the Scotland side, in relation to football, there has been cases where few Scots decided to be bold and work overseas: Archie McLean, John Madden, John Harley to name a few. One Scot, in particular, named Danny McLennan would have an incredible career in football management; for Mr McLennan would go on to manage a total of ten International countries.

The extraordinary tale of this football coach spans four decades, taking him all across the globe, often to places where those with fainter hearts might have feared to tread. A man who’s love for football, travel and adventure led him to skip country to country. The countries he would take the national team hot-seat were: the Philippines, Mauritius (twice), Zimbabwe, Iran, Bahrain, Iraq, Malawi, Jordan, Fiji and Lybia. Not only that Danny would take on challenges at club level vacating posts in Africa, Scandinavia and the Middle East, to then finish up in India, with a club called the Churchill Brothers.
If the man from Stirling was to walk down any street in Scotland, not one person would know who he was. To thousands of others in different corners of the earth, he was ‘Mr Danny’ and a respected leader.

Born in Stirling in 1925, McLennan started out as a 17-year-old apprentice left-half with Rangers under manager, Bill Struth. When it became apparent that Danny would struggle to break through into the famous ‘Iron Curtain’ defence he dropped down the leagues to play for the likes of Falkirk, East Fife, Dundee and Berwick Rangers. It was at East Fife after the Second World War that he enjoyed his most successful spell as a player, helping them to a famous Scottish League Cup victory over Partick Thistle in 1953. When his career at the Fifers came to an end, in 1957, a move to Berwick Rangers would see him appointed as the player-manager; before hanging up his playing boots in 1959.
A respected career as a footballer but it was not until he fully retired from the field of play to focus on pursuing a managerial career that his life took an very unusual path.

In 1961, McLennan applied for the Dunfermline managerial position – to then lose out to the emerging Jock Stein. McLennan started to feel that a change from the Scottish football scene was required. Fresh challenges were ones that Danny excelled at conquering. A new, exciting quest across the globe was soon to be calling.
Danny decided to take on the coaching role at Stirling Albion, the Albion were bottom of the Second Division and on the verge of bankruptcy, but he quickly helped them to promotion and even, in 1962, for the first time in their history, to the semi-finals of the League Cup. Yet, soon after, boardroom machinations saw him inexplicably sacked.

The sacking from the Albion, as well as a tame spell at Worcester City, would be the final straw for him. The adventure was about to begin.

In 1963, through the British consul in Manila, he got the job as national coach of the Philippines. A year long contract where he never once returned home to see his wife, Ruth. Excruciatingly high levels of crime made it difficult for McLennan to settle or have his wife to come over to settle. A country where he noticed that the linesman happened to be the local chief of police, running the line with a gun on his hip. Another occasion the pitch was entirely washed away due to a typhoon.
What would follow his year stint at the Philippines was twelve months at the helm of national side, Mauritius. Once Danny decided that another change was needed, his wife Ruth and daughter Rosemary moved with him to Africa, in 1968, where Sir Stanley Rous, the FIFA President, helped McLennan land the Zimbabwe post – a position he held for five years during which his second daughter, Louise, was born there in 1972. With Zimbabwe, in 1970, he almost achieved World Cup qualification, but lost each time in the play-offs.
His popularity reached top heights that his name was used in an advertising campaign slogan in Africa which instructed, ‘Drink Pepsi, Danny Does…’
Whilst in Africa Danny would write newspaper columns to spread the word wherever he went. In Africa he would have film reels of Match of the Day sent by a contact at the BBC and would show them on outdoor screens. Large crowds would gather to watch.
Interestingly Danny’s wife, Ruth McLennan, did not content herself with playing the ex-pat wife indoors. A trained opera singer, in Zimbabwe she made several recordings with the state orchestra. Also, in  Zimbabwe and Jordan, she also revived early ambitions to be a tennis pro and became the national champion in each country.

Another job prospect came calling and the McLennans were on the move – this time to take the hot seat of Iran national team boss in 1973. Again, surroundings restricted activity to daily life. Spies and informers followed his every move as westerners were deemed as strangers to the country. Despite Danny and his family experiencing tough conditions in the one year stay in the country, he played a major role in shaping and developing footballers. In fact, McLennan knew all the players that would go on to play against Scotland at the Argentina World Cup in 1978, even writing to Ally MacLeod and gave him information on all of the players though it is not known if McLeod acknowledged this advice.

Above: Danny McLennan

A year later Danny was managing the country of Bahrain before setting sights on the Iraq national team job. This would be his ‘golden years’ according to his wife, forming a close friendship with Ammo Baba: Iraq’s finest ever footballer. In the Gulf Cup semi-finals of 1976, his side thrashed the regional powerhouses Saudi Arabia 7-1.  Saddam Hussein, although not then installed as Iraqi president, was already making his presence felt. McLennan recalled in an interview, “Before we played Bahrain in the final play-off (of the 1976 Gulf Cup), word reached the players that Saddam was going to give each player a new house if they won. It clearly unsettled them.” They would lose the final 4-2 in extra-time.

After leaving Baghdad McLennan spent 1978 coaching the Norwegian side, Kongsvinger, and then the family would move to Jordan when Danny took charge of the country’s national side. They spent two years there before moving to Saudi Arabia, in 1980, when Danny accepted the job with a leading club side. Even though he enjoyed new experiences in different countries while managing club teams, to Danny they were simply just a stop gap until a job in international football became vacant.
He then moved to Malawi for a year in 1984 where Danny would have one of his proudest managerial moments. Though they had no significant pedigree, McLennan took them into the African Nations Cup finals for the first time, and had it not been for a blatantly rigged drawn game between Nigeria and Algeria, to ensure that both teams qualified, Malawi might have progressed further. Such techniques in Africa were telling that McLennan was far away from home but, in a way, ahead of its time to what would be introduced in football years later. He shared in one interview that, “Many of the teams I worked with had witch-doctors, you just learnt to accept they were important. It’s not so different from football in these parts really, is it? All the teams use psychologists these days – and they are just witch-doctors under a different name!”
The family moved back to Jordan and then Malta for Danny to manage club sides, the Mauritius job (for a second spell) between 1986-1988, two years with the Kenya Breweries club in Kenya and then the same spell in charge of National side of Fiji.
Despite his short stays, in particular countries, such was the man of McLennan that, as shared by his wife Ruth, he would make sure each side under his guidance had in place the tools and mechanisms.
At the age of 67, McLennan agreed to manage Lybia in 1992. A pivotal time for the nation’s football as matches were cancelled because of the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. Two UN Security Council Resolutions were passed to impose sanctions against Lybia. McLennan’s team were not allowed to play anyone.

Danny looked upon a new challenge, at 70 years old, and took over at the Churchill Brothers Club in Goa, India. Four enjoyable years for the family before deciding to take up a managerial post in Tanzania. The move back to Africa would be badly judged, however, as the climate was unsafe. Robberies, gang crime was rife, the McLennans spent a year in the country before returning for a second crack at the whip at Churchill Brothers in India. Although, after a while the globetrotter and co returned to Scotland in Crail, Fife – a permanent base for Danny and the family between jobs – in 2004. Unfortunately, in the midst of planning a trip to Mauritius,  Danny suffered a massive stroke and died a week later at the age of 79 on 11th May 2004.
What’s left of his football collection (few club records are non-existent in the McLennan household) can be found with his daughters who are proud of their father’s adventures.

Danny McLennan: a forward-thinking, free spirit aware before almost anyone else of the new global nature of the game. A man who gained huge respect in every country he set up as a temporary home. A visionary that, undoubtedly, was a loss to Scottish football.

Kirk Minister Complaint Confirms 390th Anniversary of Women’s Football in Europe

A KIRK Minister’s objection to women playing football on the Sabbath, reveals that a game in Carstairs, Scotland is the first recorded evidence of the women’s game in Europe. A church document dated Sunday 21st August 1628 condemns women and men playing football on the Sabbath was expected to be a religious day devoted to solemn reflection and worship.

Left to right: Vivian McLaren, Rose Reilly, Aileen Campbell and Karen Grunwell.

To mark the historic 390th anniversary, Aileen Campbell, MSP for Clydesdale, whose constituency includes Carstairs, Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) Chairperson Vivienne MacLaren and World Cup winner and Scotland’s most successful female footballer Rose Reilly met in Carstairs to commemorate the date, the earliest known record of women’s football in Europe.

While the specific location of the football activity is not mentioned in the document, the Minister’s church in Carstairs is situated at the head of the Village Green with a church having stood on that site long before the seventeenth century (although the current church building dates from the eighteenth century). Historians believe it is reasonable to suggest that the Village Green was the likely focal point for the football activity in 1628.

The text from the image above reads: 1628 21 August – The same day, Mr John Lindsay, minister at Carstairs, having regretted the break of the Sabbath by the insolent behaviour of men and women in footballing, dancing and Barley Breaks, ordains every Brother (Minister) to labour to restrain the foresaid insolence and break of Sabbath, and to that effect to make intimation thereof into their several kirks next Sabbath day.

The transcript from the Presbytery of Lanark Registers – the original register is held at the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Aileen Campbell MSP, SWF Chairperson Vivienne MacLaren and Rose Reilly were joined by Karen Grunwell who is currently researching the history of women’s football in Scotland funded by the University of Stirling.  Karen, a postgraduate researcher, announced the launch of the inaugural seminar on women’s football in Scotland which will take place at Hampden Park on March 8th, 2019 to coincide with International Women’s Day.

Rose Reilly, an an inductee of the Scottish Football Hall of Fame, is widely considered to be Scotland’s most successful female footballer. Born in Kilmarnock she is best known for her time playing in Italy where she won eight Serie A titles and the World Cup with the Italian national team.

Karen is managing the seminar in collaboration with the Scottish Football Museum & Scottish Women’s Football (SWF). The seminar will bring together interested parties from across women’s football to discuss the development of the game and to share best practice. Registration details will be confirmed in due course.

 Aileen Campbell MSP expressed delight saying: “As Clydesdale’s MSP, I am thrilled that Carstairs in my constituency is the location of the first recorded Women’s football game in Europe. It is therefore fitting to be welcoming the game ‘home’ as we promote Women’s football and encourage Women and Girls to take up sport. As a football fan, I am delighted to see Women’s football continue to grow and develop. This is a sport which has an illustrious and very local history, and I congratulate everyone who has helped bring this commemoration together.”

 Vivienne MacLaren, Chairperson of Scottish Women’s Football added: “Scotland has a proud history within the women’s game and we are delighted to acknowledge that women’s football has been present in Scotland for 390 years, far longer than most people would imagine. As custodians of women’s football in Scotland we also welcome the launch of the first seminar to be held to share ideas and develop the game in Scotland.”

Robert Craig, Chair of the Scottish Football Museum also shared: “Scotland is well-known and respected for its long and pioneering history in the world of men’s football. But perhaps less well known is the rich and longstanding history of women’s football in Scotland. Women’s football is often regarded as a relatively new sport, so we are delighted to highlight this written evidence tracing its roots back to the seventeenth century.”

Karen Grunwell, Postgraduate researcher, University of Stirling spoke of her delight of the recognition: “It is fitting to announce the launch of the inaugural seminar on women’s football in Scotland on the anniversary on the first-known record of women playing the game. The seminar on March 8 will explore the rich history of women’s football and the bright future of the game here in Scotland.”

Visit From WSDC 2018 Group Ahead of Symposium

One of the groups from the World Down Syndrome Congress (WDSC) popped in for a visit to the Scottish Football Museum, ahead of the Health Symposium taking place at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) tomorrow.
A fun afternoon in which all who attended thoroughly enjoyed, viewing the museum, sitting in the dressing rooms, to standing at the side of the famous Hampden pitch.

More than 1,200 people from around the world will attend the three day event from 25-27th July 2018. A 3-day event that will inform, inspire and influence everyone who attends for years into the future! This symposium is also opportunity for those who specialise in clinical practice and research on Down syndrome to come together and consider current, important developments in prevalent medical conditions.
This will be first time that the WDSC has be held in Scotland as well as being the first time in 32 years that summit has been hosted in the UK.

For more information visit: http://wdsc2018.org.uk/

New Exhibition: The Internationalists- Scotland’s Story on the World Stage.

Take a walk down to Scotland’s National Stadium and gaze upon our latest gallery, displaying remarkable items and memorabilia of Scotland on the world stage.
At the turn of the century, international football became increasingly popular and the need for a single body to oversee association football became more apparent. The Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in 1904 to organise international competition among national associations. FIFA membership currently currently stands at 211 national associations. This newly governed body would go on to host the inaugural World Cup in 1930- where 13 nations participated with no qualification phase; compare that to the upcoming 2026 World Cup which will see 48 nations play in the finals.

The World Cup is regarded as the most prestigious association football tournament and has grown to be the most widely viewed and supported event in the world.

Each of the national associations of FIFA must also be members of six continental confederations; Africa, Asia, Europe, North & Central America and the Caribbean, Oceania and South America. Scotland holds membership with the union of European Football Associations which organises club and national competitions in professional and amateur associations- such as the European Championships.
In September 2018, UEFA will launch the Nation’s league which will largely replace international friendly matches and improve the quality of football. The Nation’s League will provide an added route to the UEFA European Championship and allow for more competition for lower ranked nations.

The Scotland men’s national football team played its first official match against England, in 1872. This is the oldest official international  fixture in the world and, since then, the Scotland national team has experienced the highs and lows of competitive tournaments. The men is navy blue first participated at a World Cup finals tournament in 1954. The longest period of success was between 1974 and 1990 when the team qualified for five successive World Cup finals tournaments. The men’s national team did not qualify for their first European finals tournament until reaching UEFA Euro 92. Qualification was also achieved for the European Championships in England in 1996. The last major tournament involving the men’s national team was the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. With Hampden Park being a host stadium for UEFA Euro 202 matches, there is much hope and anticipation that the Scotland men’s national team will play in a major international tournament on home soil.

A wide range of items on display in the new exhibition.

The Scotland women’s national team played its first official match in 1972 against England. The Scottish FA took formal control over the team in 1998 and with a gradual restructuring of the women’s game in Scotland and some added investment, the women’s national team pushed for a place at a major tournament. The team would reach the play-off stage for Euro 2009 and Euro 2013 but narrowly missed out on qualifications on each occasion. However, the team bounced back in style, qualifying for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 tournament in the Netherlands. Many of the history makers of 2017 are still with the side and, so far, have enjoyed a strong qualifying campaign for the 2019 FIFA World Cup finals in France.

A signed Scotland Women’s jersey from the 2017 UEFA European Championships.

Football Memories Scotland Nominated for Prestigious Scotland’s Dementia Award

GROUND-BREAKING dementia project Football Memories Scotland has been shortlisted for the prestigious Scotland’s Dementia Awards 2018. Nominated in the ‘Most Innovative Partnership’ category, the shortlisting recognises Football Memories Scotland’s collaboration with Alzheimer Scotland to deliver vital community reminiscence work, helping people living with dementia in Scotland.

Scotland’s Dementia Awards, a partnership between Alzheimer Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland and the Scottish Social Services Council, has announced the finalists for their 7th annual Awards. The Awards programme sets out to celebrate the inspirational achievements of those making a difference for people living with dementia and their families.

If successful, this award would represent the second major accolade this year for Football Memories Scotland. In May, the Scotland-wide Football Memories Volunteer Network was recognised with the Volunteer Team of the Year Award at this year’s Museums + Heritage Awards organised by M+H Media. This UK-wide award recognises good-practice across the entire museums and heritage sector in the UK.

Headquartered at The National Stadium Hampden Park, the Football Memories Scotland project is a partnership between Alzheimer Scotland and the Scottish Football Museum, currently operating more than 200 groups across Scotland. The project started in 2009 and is the oldest national football reminiscence programme in the world.

Football Memories Scotland is a national network of reminiscence groups which aims to provide therapeutic interventions for people living with dementia. Groups meet in football clubs, community halls, libraries, sheltered housing complexes, care homes, day carecentres and hospitals, with reminiscence activities delivered in either a group format or on a one-to-one basis.

Since its conception in 2009, the Football Memories Project has produced a range of resources including packs of cards, DVDsand memory boxes, as well as a digital resource website with over 7,000 images enabling facilitators to personalise reminiscence for individuals. We have recently created a certification scheme to provide training for project volunteers and care home staff.  Alzheimer Scotland provides vital advice and support with a significant number of their staff running reminiscence groups in different parts of Scotland.

Robert CraigChair of the Scottish Football Museum and Chair of Sports Heritage Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for the Scotland’s Dementia Awards. It is particularly pleasing to be recognised in the ‘Most Innovative Partnership’ category as the Football Memories Project has been a pioneering collaboration between the Scottish Football Museum and Alzheimer Scotland since it first started in 2009. Together we have developed a world-leading dementia intervention project recognised internationally as a model of good-practice.”

Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland’s Chief Executive, on behalf of the partners, said: “These awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise the great achievements of projects and teams involved in dementia care and support across Scotland.”
“We are thrilled to see so many positive collaborations taking place, helping to address stigma, break down barriers and ensure that nobody faces dementia alone. We look forward to celebrating the work of all our finalists and winners on the day.”

Scottish Influence on Spanish Football.

Did you know that there was influential Scottish presence as Spain began to impose the beautiful game to their population?
During the latter half of the 1890’s, textile workers sent from Newmilns- in Ayrshire- to a factory in Barcelona, would form the Escoces Football Club. The club competed in local competitions and a number of its players would go on to play for FC Barcelona after the Catalan giant was founded in 1899. Glasgow born forward, George Pattullo, signed for Barcelona in 1910 and was a revelation; scoring 41 goals in just 20 matches during season 1910-11. He would refuse to sign for city rivals Espanyol due to his loyalty to Barcelona. Pattullo, who returned to Scotland the following year, would make a brief return in 1912 and was revered as the greatest goal-scorer of his generation. He also briefly managed Mallorcan side Club Baleares in 1930.

Above: George Pattullo

More so, dating from 1890, Sevilla FC is the oldest club in Spain dedicated solely to football. The club was formed by Scottish migrants. A number of the Scots may have been connected to Dundee as the story of the birth of the team was reported in a local newspaper, the Dundee Courier on the 17th March 1890. An extract from one of the paragraphs in the article reads:
“‘Some six weeks ago a few enthusiastic young residents of British origin met in one of the cafés for the purpose of considering a proposal that we should start an Athletic Association, the want of exercise being greatly felt by the majority of us, who are chiefly engaged in mercantile pursuits. After a deal of talk and a limited consumption of small beer, the “Club de Football de Sevilla” was duly formed and office-bearers elected. It was decided we should play Association rules (…) We were about half and half Spanish and British”.
Edward Farquharson Johnston, originally from Elgin, was the first President of the club. He was the British vice-consul in Sevilla and co-proprietor of the firm MacAndrews & Co, ship-owners with commercial lines between Spain and the UK. Glasgow born Hugh MacColl, a marine engineer, who at that time had moved to Seville to work as the technical manager of Portilla White foundry, was the club’s first captain. One of MacColl’s partners in the Portilla White foundry in Seville, Isaias White Junior, was also the club’s first secretary.
The first match they played was against the Huelva Recreation Club taking place on 8th March 1890. Sevilla FC won the game 2–0, with the first goal in an official match in Spanish football history scored by Sevilla’s player Ritson.

Above: Edward Farquharson Johnston and Hugh MacColl.